In this episode we’re exploring how we can tend to our clothing, and how repairing, patching, and mending our clothing can be part of a cultural shift that values the people who labored to bring our clothes into being, and reduces the impact of textile waste on the environment.
Listen in to hear from Sonya and Nina Montenegro about how mending our clothing invites respect for the aging process of fabric and can even become an agent of healing our relationships with people, place, and material culture.
Sonya and Nina are sisters, and together they are the designers and makers of The Far Woods. The things they make reflect their deepest desires about the world. They seek to contribute to a great Culture Shift in which there is a land ethic, a reverence for nature, a rejection of the dominant throw-away mentality, and direct connection to where our food and the things we use come from. Many of their artworks serve as educational tools and inspiration for deepening relationship to nature, food, and community. Their practice crosses disciplines, including teaching handcraft skills, beekeeping, and growing food, to work toward an ecologically-viable and socially-just future. They are the authors and illustrators of Mending Life: A Handbook for Repairing Clothes and Hearts by Nina and Sonya Montenegro, Sasquatch Books, March 2020
Mending Life is a beautifully illustrated, practical tool kit for repairing the clothes and belongings we love. It is also an exploration of how mending can be a gently healing practice in our daily lives and a powerful act of restoration, both for our clothes and our relationship to the world. In this interview you will hear about some specific mending skills and practices, including their favorite mending projects, what they recommend for a beginner project, how they approach the ever-growing mending pile, and how caring for clothing relates to their artistic practices, both of which are rooted in connecting to place.
- The Far Woods website, Instagram @thefarwoods, and Patreon
- Find their book Mending Life online or through your local bookstore
- Learn about Boro through the Japan Society and their recent exhibit (with virtual tours) Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics
- Learn about Kintsugi: embracing the imperfect with this short video by Terushi Sho for BBC
- See the original illustration created by the Far Woods for the 2019 Wool & Fine Fiber Symposium
- Learn more about textile waste with Fibershed’s Closet Survey for Climate & Ocean Health Project, Fast Track to Slow Fashion, and by reading A New Textiles Economy by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
- Start your mending journey by darning a sock with a video tutorial like this one (and if you need some yarn, the Fibershed Marketplace has you covered, including yarn sampler mending kits by GynnaMade).
- Learn stitching techniques for mending with this free video demonstration by Northern California Fibershed member Heidi Iverson
- Check out #visiblemending on Instagram for more than 80,000 inspiring images
- Watch the True Cost documentary
- Artists to check out: Celia Pym, Katrina Rodabaugh
Thanks for listening to the eleventh episode of Soil to Soil, a podcast connecting the dots in the lifecycle of clothing and material culture, brought to you by Fibershed, which is a non-profit organization based in Northern California. Each episode offers a look at how, and why, our community is working to cultivate fiber and dye systems that build soil & protect the health of our biosphere.
This episode is hosted by Jess Daniels, with production support from Whetstone Media and music by Arann Harris. Photo credits: Paige Green Photography, with additional images via the Far Woods.